Ganoderma lucidum is a woody mushroom known as Lingzhi in China and Reishi in Japan. In the American market, it is best known as Reishi. In Asia, Reishi is used to promote health and longevity. Reishi contains triterpenes and polysaccharides, which may have antioxidant, lipid lowering, anticancer, and antiviral properties. Reishi has antioxidant properties in vitro.
Ganoderma lucidum, like many of the Oriental mushrooms, is rich in various polysaccharide compounds. Because these polysaccharides have a similar structure to the cell membranes of bacteria and some dysfunctional body cells (such as in some forms of cancer), the use of reishi as a dietary supplement is theorized to help the immune system recognize and deal with pathogens and some early stage cancers. Active constituents in Reishi Mushroom are sterols, coumarin, mannitol, polyssacharide and triterpenoids called ganoderic acids. The latter helps lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, and works as an anticoagulant. All of these benefits contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system. Reishi Mushroom has antibacterial, antiviral properties and anti-tumor activity to prevent cancer.
Reishi Mushroom grows in coastal areas of China and is found on decaying logs and tree stumps. The fruiting body is used medicinally. In Asian medicine, the Reishi Mushroom is prized for its health-promoting effects. The Chinese call it "herb of spiritual potency" and it is used for treatment of fatigue and weakness, asthma, insomnia, coughs and more.